Mission Slideshow

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week #85 - "My hair glows when I sing."


What a wonderfully full week!

First, news that there is a member in my ward that served in Missão Cuiabá, Roman's mission! Yes, he is a very cool guy and he informed me about all the cool things that are there. What is really cool is that he passed 2 transfers in Romans new area and told me all about the cool people there and stuff. He said that it is a very hard area, but I think Roman is up to the job. So go get em Roman!!!!!!!!

We had a wonderful family night at a member house this week and I was pleased with the number of people and members that came. The members here need to see how much we want to work and find and teach and help people. So that is why I am always glad to have a member of the church with us. My companion gave a wonderful lesson and we all ate and talked. Good stuff!!

So this week we went to the mission home and I was able to get MY CAMERA!!! I was super excited and shared my joy by taking funny pictures with the assistants and sharing my fruit snack spoils. Wonderful Stuff. But what impressed me was that the president gave a ride back home and I was super happy about that. He gave a doctrinal lesson in the car about prayer and about how faith really works. I was stunned because he said EVERYTHING that I was needing to hear and he talked about things that I had been studying the day before in a talk by Elder David A. Bednar. It was wonderful. I felt a spirit tell me that God really does know me and hears my prayers.

We had a meeting with the stake president and I was surprised because it was not how I had imagined it. I did not talk much but rather, I just observed and was absorbing how things work in my new calling. I really am having a hard time adjusting so I am trying to just observe. But hey, I will figure it out.

On thanksgiving, I totally forgot about it again this year because there are no Americans in my entire zone, just me. So, we had a good day of planning and running around to get our wedding organized. We found a new family to teach, Leila and Antonio and they are really special. She used to go to church as a kid! So we will see how she goes. Yea, I did nothing for the holiday. Sorry, I guess I'll just really have to celebrate big time next year!

We had another wedding this week. Rossinei and Larissa. They are a wonderful young couple who has been investigating the church for a few months, but they really do want to follow the savior. The ceremony was simple, but beautiful and once again the members of my ward really pulled it off, providing everything for us. I am very grateful for that. Rossinei used my suit for the wedding. Then on Sunday was there baptism. I was so grateful to be able to baptize Rossinei. I am a part of their lives for only a few short weeks and so it was an honor that he asked me to do it. The water was very cold. hahaha!

We have found many new families to teach and the ward is excited to help us. We have a new ward mission leader who is super excited and our meeting with him was great. He set up some good plans to involve these new members in the ward. His name is Frank and he is a really down to earth guy and I like that about him. He just not dream much, he thinks about it how it really is, and that is very important. Our mission has been baptizing like crazy. To give you an idea how ripe the fields are for harvest here in Manaus, this last week, our whole mission baptized 155 people! We have been seeing these kinds of numbers week after week since the temple opened. It's truly a miracle!!

Well, my week was really good and full of work. However, I learned a great new game, Monopoly DEAL (Bro Roberson will love this game)! It is a card game based on monopoly and it is really hard. I got creamed by my companion many times. But I won one time! I can't wait to teach you all when I get home.

I love you all soo much.
Eu vos amo

Elder Asa Laws

Week #84 - "You're Stressed... You need Desserts!"


It was a fantastic week, with MUCH that happened and I am just grateful for everything that God has given me.

FIRST. My suit is absolutely giant. I am sorry Mother but it was big when we bought it and it got even bigger. I used it this week at the wedding and I felt like a deacon again. I felt smaller than a deacon. I felt like a funny looking 1970's salesman who has no clue how to dress himself.

Also, as a zone leader you have to do tons of interviews for those who are accepting to enter into the waters of baptism and because of this we are always having to do interviews! TONS I did tons this week and I am really excited because I get to help so many people enter this true church. I just have this spirit that I want to tell everyone that really wants to hear. I do not want to teach those who do not want the truth, that will throw it away. I want to talk with all hose that God has prepared for me to teach. It is quite the work in Manaus. So we walk a lot.

We had another meeting with another 70 (general authority) from the church, Elder Adukatitis. He is our mission president's cousin and he is a really amazing guy. Wow, he was super cool. First things first. He told us we are not as good as they we are. HAHA. He commented that President Costa, the 70 that last visited us, commented to him about how good our mission is. Haha, however, he showed us, that truly we have a lot to improve on and we should set our sights even higher! He told us there is no reason that the Manaus mission does not have 100 visitors at every church every week! He really showed us that we have a lot that we could be doing to be even better. He also gave us a lot of ideas on how we can be better; techniques and principles to apply so hat we find more people! I was super inspired, and I felt something I had never felt before. I felt I could really do anything, a lot like Nephi when he says that if God told him to turn water to land, he could do it. I felt like that.

So, I have gotten to the point on my mission where I am no longer American. Really, nobody thinks that I am from the states. Some think I am Brazilian but just this week I had a few random guesses: Spain, Italy, England, and Argentina. I do not talk exactly like a Brazilian, but I do not talk like an American at all. So it throws some people. haha

WE HAD A WEDDING THIS WEEK! That is right, Antonia and Valdenor were married this week and let me explain it to you. The members got to together and set up the chapel in a beautiful theme of purple and silver. They provided tons of help! The bride of course arrived late and the ceremony was wonderful. They all were so happy. They and family from all over the state come and see, which is a big deal because the state is almost the size of Alaska. haha. My companion took tons of pictures that I will try to get to you guys ASAP, and it was super fun. I ate a ton and spoke with some really cool people about the gospel of Christ. Then the next day was their baptism. I was a bit worried about Antonia because she was not really all that sure. When she arrived at church however she was super happy and ready to be baptized. I was shocked. What shocked me more was that I have been here only for a few days and she asked me to baptize her! I was so honored, and it was one of the best baptismal services of my mission. I really wanted to cry, but I couldn't.

This week I gave a talk in church. I was followed by the stake president. HAHA. Well, I got up there and bore my soul about he first vision and said that the members "why are there spaces around in the chapel? Why is it not completely full in here? Why? Are we simply to comfortable with this space around us? Or is it because we have forgotten our objective as members of the church?" I know, a bit harsh right? Well, After I finished, the stake president took hold of that idea and went to town! Oh man, he layed down one of the best talks I have ever heard. Super inspired! However, what makes me even happier is that our bishop caught fire after that and said "We only have 90 people at church this week. Next week we will have 150 people!" I saw members go out and do tons of visits and we immediately received a referral! So, I hope we can get a good ball rolling here with lots of work.

We got lots to do! More meetings and more people. We have to just keep looking forward.

Eu amo todos vocês
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weeks #83 - "But you don't need to use the claw, If you pick a pear of the big paw-paw. Have I given you a clue?"

Boom! -

Wow, we had a super packed week and now it is just going to keep getting fuller! Sheesh, I have a lot to do now. For example, this last week:

Tuesday: Division and baptism in another area
Wednesday: Temple trip!
Thursday: Baptism in our area
Friday: Interviews for baptisms, president came for a visit
Saturday: More interviews!
Sunday: Meetings!!! Also, it rained a ton!

My new companion is Elder Doratiotto. He is from Jundiai, São Paulo. That is the same place that Elder Costa is from, my companion from January last year! He is of Italian descent and is a really cool guy. He loves cars but is not that talkative and I have a bit of trouble just conversing with him. But all will be well. He likes to work! We will get to know each other better and it will be fine.

My new apartment is small but it has AC and hot water! We have a rat friend who we are trying to remove but he is stupid fast! haha. It was pretty dirty when I arrived but today we both got up and started cleaning everything! Now it is worthy to be a missionaries house!

So, if you are wondering what I have to do now that I was not doing before, I will explain. As a Zone Leader, you have to do everything you do as a District Leader, but on a larger scale. Also, you are the fireman of the zone. What that means is any little problem that happens, you have to control it before it gets out of hand and something bad happens. When things fall through for your missionaries, you have to go there and fix it all and make sure it all happens correctly. We are always leaving and going to other missionaries areas to do interviews, or give a blessing to someone or to speak to someone who has a serious problem. It is a lot of walking. hahaha. We also, then have to maintain the work in our own area. I think it is hard to balance the two things. But hey, that is life.

Also, one of the things I was not expecting is that I am the junior companion again! That is a very hard transition for me. Wow, it is weird because I do not make the calls when things do not work out. Appointment fell, I do not choose where to go next. I do not have the cellphone and I am not responsible for much in our area at the moment. I do not know many people either. The members notice when you are senior or junior and they treat you that way. When you are senior you are constantly marking things down and talking with the leadership and making decisions. Junior, you stand at the side and watch, making the occasional comment to help out. I forgot how this is and it really freaked me out this pasted few days.

However, I am learning a lot. Also, it is funny to speak with new people because I almost do not have any accent, and it throws a few people through a loop sometimes. There is a lady in our ward who heard me bare my testimony at church and thought I was from São Paulo. I like it when they think I am Brazilian, because I really do try to speak as well as I possibly can.

So, on the division. I think I already said this, but a division is what you call exchanges in the US. Okay? Good. Well, on my first day in my area, I went on a division to another area. I went and I had a really good time actually. It was nice to be able to get to know new people and just teach from your heart. However on the division, we had go to the sisters area to give a blessing to one of their investigators who has a smoking problem. So we had leave the area where we were teaching and go to another! HAHA and here we descended into a shady area. It was really a lot like Mauazinho there (very first area), so I liked it a lot. The lady, Antonia, really did have the desire to change and I hope the best for her. Also, on the division I bought pizza and I was so tired after that day that I fell asleep while we were planning for the next day! I was super tired!

Also, I discovered a soft-serve ice-cream shop and I have bought 6 cones there already! I love vanilla.

So, I said we went to the temple, right? Well, it was great and once again, while at the temple, the president was there. I saw him sitting there with his wife reading the scriptures, and I thought "cute, I will definitely do that with my wife." (no joke, I thought that) Well, little did I know, he was looking for a particular scripture. He found it, got up, and came to speak to ME about it. He sat down by me and we had a quite and very special chat. I am always impressed that he knows exactly what to say and when to say it. It was a personal moment, and I do not think I will write what he shared with me, but it was what I needed.

We had a baptism this week. Jesse is an investigator that they had already been teaching before I had arrived. He was very happy to be baptized. I always love baptismal services. Really, they have very special feelings. However, our font is broken, so that water we have in it right now is 2 weeks old. yuck@!

Yea, I am tired. It is hot. But I a loving my mission. Things sometimes change just when you do not expect it and God has a plan in all things. I am excited to see how that plan rolls out here for a few more months!

Sad. Romney, I chose you (much like pikachu!)

Eu vos amo!
Elder Asa Laws

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week #82 - They come. They eat. They leave! - A Bug's Life


Sometimes you just never really know what is coming around the corner until you get there. I will explain later....
So this week was probably the greatest week of my entire mission. I know I said that last week but this really was THE best! I have never so tried hard to be the best I can be. I have never been pushed to do so much in so little time. We worked our tails off. Then we kept working some more. We walked, and run, and prayed, and fasted, and then we had to work some more. We worked in the morning and then we worked at night. At 1pm in 120 degree heat we worked and in raging storms we worked. I am extremely grateful for work this week and I have truly learned what you can do when you trust the Lord.

So this week was very interesting. Their was a large storm that came through the same night as the hurricane hit in the states. My house was completely fine but we know a few people that had their roofs torn off. It actually did a lot of damage in the city here and that night the entire city went without power. I did not sleep very well. We woke up to find our house still without power and our cell phone did not work because some of the cell towers were destroyed. AGH! It was a trying day because we're in the process of helping 2 couples get married and we needed someone to come get their documents from us and take them to the right place. But without a cell phone we had no way of getting in contact. When the call network came back on, we found out that the mission office was without Internet and cell-phone service. We were running around trying to get everything in order and solve our impossible problem, when Elder Fonseca remembered he had a telephone pre-paid card in his wallet to use at a payphone. We prayed the payphones still worked and THEY DID!!! We managed to get a very weak connection to the land line at the mission office and we got permission to walk to the office and deliver the papers. That day, we must have walked 12 miles! This week we walked and taught everyone we could find. We prayed and set goals, and worked our hardest to hit every single goal we had. We met almost every one.

We had a mission tour this week with Elder Costa, President of the Brazil area. It was quite incredible because Elder Costa was the first mission president of the Manaus mission. WOW. This tour was amazing. He had a huge zone conference with all the missionaries from 3 cities together in Manaus. We had a meeting with him as the mission leadership before the rest of the meeting. I was impressed at how he complimented us on our work and our dedication, and really he only gave a few pointers to help us grow even more. I felt like he really trusted us. He spoke with us about being a model of Christ and how we are to live in such a way that others feel our love of Christ in our hands. I was quite touched, especially by that thought. Then came the full meeting with Elder Costa. He decided to compliment every missionary personally. So we all got in line to shake his hand and the mission presidents hand. When I shook the mission presidents hand he said "Elder, are you ready for EVERYTHING?" I said yes, that my area was well prepared. But he did not let my hand go, and repeated "No Elder, are YOU ready for everything?" I said yes again even more emphatically, and I then went to shake Elder Costas hand. He asked me where I was from and I responded Vancouver Washington, to which he said "I love it there. The fish are great!" I laughed and told him I really miss salmon.

NEW MISSION RULE: NO MORE FOOTBALL (SOCCER) Yep, those new soccer shoes you sent me mother, are now baseball shoes. haha
The rest of the day was full of the spirit. It helped me see many of the things that I was doing that were great, and many new things I can do to become better. He did not talk about rules, or superficial topics that often many missionaries need. No, he spoke mostly about how the church is organized and how things work on the logistic side of things. Really it was a lot less doctrine and a lot more information than I expected. But I guess that just is because our mission is just doing so well that we do not need to be reminded on how to properly use a tie or iron a shirt or to shave every day. Mission Manaus, I feel, is finaly beyond those sorts of things. So that is why he committed us to a much higher goal than normal. We are going good. But we have to our best and leave nothing undone! haha. Give it our all the help those around us.

So, about the corner issue (fom the beginning of the letter). This week a new stake was organized in my mission and because of this, the mission decided to divide a few zones. They made 3 new zones this week and that meant mini transfer. Well, I now understand why the president asked me if I was ready because I was transferred to a new area, new companion, and new calling. I am zone leader in my old stake, Samauma, with Elder Doratiotto. He is a really cool Elder from São Paulo and we are going to have a blast! I am actually already in my new area today and I am already feeling that things will become very different. I am actually very sad about this change because I was in Ajuricaba for 5 months. I loved the members there. I was working with 3 weddings. I had the best house in the mission with literally the greatest companion ever! We worked together only for 2 weeks but Elder Fonseca and I had a blast!! 2 weeks that changed my mission. Now it is on to newer and harder things. It is very likely this area will be my last area on the mission. So I am feeling like I should get comfortable. Mom, feel free to send anything you want to me because I will be going to the mission office almost once a week now to pick things up. It will be an honour to serve in this new area and to serve these Elders. It is a wonderful ward that I have already had the privilege to know, months ago. I used to be in Cadade Nova, which is just a few kilometers away! haha! So for me, I am cool. I will probably end my mission with just 5 areas! haha! And only 4 zones!

Well, I bore my testimony on Sunday and said some things that I wish to be known here. FIRST: I BELIEVE IN CHRIST. I know he lives and I know he is my Savior. Second: JOSEPH SMITH SAW GOD. This is fact. I know it for fact because the spirit whispered so, unto my soul. I have no doubt in the truthfulness of this work. I know for a fact all that I teach and all I am learning, is sent by God for the salvation of His children. If you want to know more about how I know these things, write me, and then pray and ask God yourself.

Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws